Gala (y Velasco), Antonio (Ángel Custodio) 1936-
GALA (y VELASCO), Antonio (Ángel Custodio) 1936-
PERSONAL: Born October 2, 1936, in Córdoba, Spain; son of Luis Gala Calvo and Adoración Velasco. Education: Universidad de Seville, earned law degree; advanced degrees from Universidad de Madrid.
ADDRESSES: Home—Calle Macarena No. 16, 28016 Madrid, Spain. Agent—c/o Coreo Autor, Editorial Planeta, Córega 273-277, 08008 Barcelona, Spain.
CAREER: Poet, playwright, and novelist. Worked as a bricklayer's assistant, c. late 1950s; taught religion, art history, and philosophy in secondary schools in Madrid, Spain, c. 1959. Speaker at conferences.
MEMBER: Associación de Amistad Hispano-Árebe (president, 1981).
AWARDS, HONORS: Honorable mention, Premio Adonais de Poesía, 1959, for Enemigo íntimo; Premio las Albinas, 1963; Premio Nacional Calderón de la Barca, 1963, for Los verdes campos del Edén; Premio Ciudad de Barcelona, 1965; Premio Nacional de Literature, 1973, for Anillos para una dama; Premio de Periodismo González Ruano, 1976, for article "Los ojos de Troylo"; D.H.C., Universidad de Córdoba, 1982; named Andaluz Universal, Junta de Andalucía, 1983; Premio Léon Felipe, 1989, for community activism; Premio Planeta, 1990, for El manuscrito carmesí; Hidalgo prize; many other awards.
Los verdes campos del Edén (two-act; produced in Madrid, Spain, 1963), Escelicer (Madrid, Spain), 1964, published with Anillos para una dama, Edaf (Madrid, Spain), 2001, translation published as The Green Fields of Eden in The Contemporary Spanish Theatre: The Social Comedies of the Sixties, SGEL (Madrid, Spain), 1983.
(Translator) Paul Claudel, El zapato de raso, Escelicer (Madrid, Spain), 1965.
El sol en el hormiguero (two-act; produced in Madrid, Spain, 1966), published with El caracol en el espejo and Noviembre y un poco de yerba, Taurus (Madrid, Spain), 1970.
Noviembre y un poco de yerba (title means "November and a Bit of Grass"; produced in Madrid, Spain, 1967), published with El sol en el hormiguero and El caracol en el espejo, Taurus (Madrid, Spain), 1970.
Píldora nupcial; Corazones y diamantes; El "Week end" de Andrómaca; Vieja se muere la alegría (television plays), Escelicer (Madrid, Spain), 1968.
Esa mujer (screenplay), Proesa (Madrid, Spain), 1968.
(Adaptor) Edward Albee, Un delicado equilibrio, produced in Madrid, Spain, 1969.
Spain's Strip-tease (produced in Madrid, Spain, 1970), published in Obras escogidas, Aguilar (Madrid, Spain), 1981.
Los buenos días perdidos (three-act; produced in Madrid, 1972), Primer Acto (Madrid, Spain), 1972, translation published as The Bells of Orleans in Estreño (University Park, PA), 1992.
Anillos para una dama (title means "A Ring for a Lady"; produced in Madrid, Spain, 1973), Júcar (Madrid, Spain), 1974.
¡Suerte, campeón! (produced in Madrid, Spain, 1973), published in Teatro musical, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 2000.
Canta, gallo acorralado (adaptation of a play by Sean O'Casey), produced in Madrid, Spain, 1973.
Cantar de Santiago para todos (television play), MK (Madrid, Spain), 1974.
Las cítaras colgadas de los árboles (title means "Zithers Hung in the Trees"; produced in Madrid, Spain, 1974), published with ¿Por qué corres, Ulises? Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1977, 2nd edition, 1981.
Cuatro Conmemoraciones: Eterno Tuy; Auto del Santo Reino; Oratorio de Fuenterrabía; Retablo de Santa Teresa (television plays), Adra (Madrid, Spain), 1976.
Petra Regalada (produced in Madrid, Spain, 1980), MK (Madrid, Spain), 1980.
La vieja señorita del Paraíso (produced in Madrid, Spain, 1981), MK (Madrid, Spain), 1981.
El cemeterio de los pájaros (title means "The Bird Cemetery"; produced in Madrid, Spain, 1982), MK (Madrid, Spain), 1980.
Trilogía de la libertad (includes Petra Regalada, La vieja señorita del Paraíso, and El cemeterio de los pájaros), Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1983.
Obras escogidas, Aguilar (Madrid, Spain), 1981.
Paisaje Andaluz con figuras (title means "Andalusian Landscapes with Figures"; television play), two volumes, Andaluzas Unidas (Andalucía, Spain), 1984, 2nd edition published as Paisaje con figuras, 1985.
Samarkanda (produced in Madrid, Spain, 1985), MK (Madrid, Spain), 1985.
El hotelito (title means "The Little Family Manor"; produced in Madrid, Spain, 1985), published with Samarkanda, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1985.
(With Enrique Jiménez) El sombrero de tres picos, Léon (Madrid, Spain), 1986.
Seneca, o el beneficio de la duda (produced in Madrid, Spain, 1987), Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1987.
Carmen Carmen (musical; produced in Madrid, Spain, 1988), Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1988.
Cristóbal Colón (opera; produced in Madrid, Spain, 1989), music by Leonardo Balada, Beteca Music (Pittsburgh, PA), 1989.
La truhana (musical; produced in Madrid, Spain, 1992), published in Teatro musical, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 2000.
Los bellos durmientes, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1994.
Troneras, 1993-1996, Temas de Hoy (Madrid, Spain), 1996.
Teatro musical (contains ¡Suerte, Campeón! Spain's Strip-tease, Carmen Carmen, and La truhana), Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 2000.
Author of screenplays, including (with Miguel Rubio and Mario Camús) Digan lo que digan, 1968; Esa mujer, 1968; (with Luis Lucia) Pepa Doncel, 1969; and (with Rubio) Los buenos días perdidos (based on his own play), 1975; adaptor for television (with Camús and others) of works by William Shakespeare, Molière, and Euripides, c. 1968. Author, with others, of television series Si las piedras hablaran, Iniciativas Culturales de España, 1980.
Gala's plays have been published in numerous editions and anthologies.
El manuscrito carmesí (title means "The Crimson Manuscript"), Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1990.
La pasión turca, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1993.
Más allá del jardín, Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1995.
Si las piedras hablaran, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1995.
La regla de tres, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1996.
Café cantante, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1997.
El corazón tardío, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1998.
Las manzanas del viernes, Espasa-Calpa (Madrid, Spain, 1999.
Enemigo íntimo, RIALP (Madrid, Spain), 1960.
Testamento Andaluz, Publicaciones Obra Social y Cultural Cajasur (Córdoba, Spain), 1998.
El águila bicéfala: textos de amor, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1993.
Poemas de amor, Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1997.
Cuaderno de Amor (anthology), Esfera de los Libros (Madrid, Spain), 2001.
Córdoba para vivir, Publicaciones Españolas (Madrid, Spain), 1965.
Vicente Vela (criticism), Rayuela (Madrid, Spain), 1975.
Barrera-Wolff: enero 1976 (catalogue), Galeria Kreisler (Madrid, Spain), 1975.
Texto y pretexto, Sedmay (Madrid, Spain), 1977.
Teatro de hoy, teatro de mañana, Ateneo de Almería/Univers (Almería, Spain), 1978.
Charlas con Troylo (essays; title means "Conversations with Troylo"), Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1981, enlarged edition published as Charlas con Troylo y desde entonces, 1998.
En propia mano (essays), Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1983.
Cuaderno de la dama de otoño (essays; originally published in El País, 1983), El País (Madrid, Spain), 1985.
Dedicado a Tobías (essays), Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1988.
Guía de los vinos españoles = Spanish Wines Guide (nonfiction), Iberia (Madrid, Spain), 1990.
La soledad sonora (essays), Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1991.
La Granada de los nazaríes, Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1992.
Proas y troneras, Akal (Madrid, Spain), 1993.
Córdoba de Gala, edited by Ana María Padilla Mangas, Caja Provincial de Ahorros de Córdoba (Córdoba, Spain), 1993.
Andaluz, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1994.
Carta a los herederos, Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1995.
El don de la palabra, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1996.
A quien va conmigo (essays), Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1997.
La casa sosegada, Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1998.
(Author of text) Andalucía eterna, photographs by José Luis Otermin, Otermin (Málaga, Spain), 1998.
Ahora hablaré de mí (autobiography), Planeta (Madrid, Spain), 2000.
Sobre la vida y el escenario (biography), Martínez Roca (Barcelona, Spain), 2001.
Teatro de la historia, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 2001.
El imposible olvido, Planeta (Madrid, Spain), 2001, 2nd edition, 2001.
Los invitados al jardín, Planeta (Madrid, Spain), 2002.
Contributor of column to Sábado Gráfico, beginning 1973; author of columns, including "Verbo Transitivo," to El País, beginning 1978. Contributor to El Mundo.
Gala's work has been translated into several languages, including French.
Gala's manuscripts are included in the theater collection at the Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid, Spain.
ADAPTATIONS: Poetry by Gala has been set to music by various composers, including Cántico de "La pietá" (chorus), music by Antón García Abril, Bolamar, 1992; and Tientos, music by Lorenzo Palomo, Música Española Contemporanea, 1993. Más allá del jardín was adapted as a motion picture, directed by Pedro Olea, Sogete/Lola Films, 1996.
SIDELIGHTS: A noted writer who focuses on the history and landscape of his native Andalusia within his works, award-winning Spanish writer Antonio Gala is credited with penning a number of popular productions for stage and screen as well as novels, poems, and essays. Achieving widespread celebrity status early in his career as a result of his television series Paisaje con figuras—which ceased broadcast in 1976 upon orders of Spanish President Arias Navarro—as well as his popular—and sometimes equally controversial—columns, which have appeared in major Spanish newspapers since the early 1970s, Gala has also gained critical praise for the novels he has written beginning in 1990. Noting his tendency to focus on social and political issues, Contemporary World Writers essayist Phyllis Zatlin wrote of Gala that his plays "blend . . . sparkling surface humor with an underlying tragic reality" while evidencing "a strong concern for individual freedom." His essay collections, which include Charlas con Troylo, Dedicado a Tobías, and La soledad sonora, are varied in scope, ranging in subject matter from politics to faith to tradition to sex. "Following in the footsteps of great writers such as Larra and Azorín," maintained Catherine G. Bellver in a World Literature Today review of Dedicado a Tobías, "Gala uses the print medium not in the common journalistic manner, for the dissemination of information, but for reflection, moral comment, and social testimony."
Born in Cordoba, Spain in 1936, Gala enrolled at the University of Seville at the age of fifteen. After earning a degree in law as well as advanced degrees in both political science and economics, the young man moved to Madrid, intending to follow the wishes of his father and begin a career as a government lawyer. However, the critical acclaim he received for his first book of poetry, Enemigo íntimo, convinced Gala to embark upon a career as a writer, and he worked as a laborer while continuing his literary endeavors. By the early 1960s he had earned a number of notable literary awards, most importantly for his first play, Los verdes campos del Edén, which was produced in Madrid in 1963. More importantly, he had become a popular playwright, capturing the interest and enthusiasm of his audience.
Since beginning his career in the Madrid theater in the early 1960s, Gala has produced both musicals and dramas, and has incorporated folklorical, historical, and allegorical elements into his plots. Noting that Gala combines spoken dialogue with song in his plays, Hazel Cazorla noted in an essay in La Chispa '95: "As an 'andaluz'[—a native of the southern region of Andalusia—], Gala is attuned to that special brand of natural poetry to be found in the speech of down-to-earth, ordinary folk" and possesses a "fine ear for the music of speech on several levels." He has produced three lavish musicals, Carmen Carmen, Cristóbal Colón, and La truhana, all period pieces employing rich sets and costumes, choreography, and a lush musical score. He also incorporates humor within his stage works. Commenting on La truhana, the story of a beautiful seventeenth-century actress who is forced to flee the attentions of the Spanish king, Cazorla noted: "Gala invites us to laugh at the unchanging, yet every-changing, spectacle of the human comedy, while reminding us, as the original picaresque writers did, that laughter is, after all, the best technique for survival in a world which, for so many, now as then, is only too often a vale of tears."
In addition to musicals, Gala has also produced dramatic plays, such as the highly lauded Los buenos días perdidos and 1973's Anillos para una dama, which recalls the works of Spanish epic hero El Cid in the person of Gala's protagonist, Rodrigo de Vivar. First recorded in the twelfth-century Poema de mio Cid, the legend of Cid focuses on a Christian knight, loyal to Spain, who risks all for king and country. In his play, Gala focuses, not on Cid himself, but on the wife, Jimen, that he leaves behind at his death, his purpose, according to Romance Quarterly reviewer Isabel Torres "the demythification of . . . Spain's most revered epic hero. . . . [in order to] illuminate the human cost of heroism, . . . to free his society from the myths which bind and immobilize it." Noting the play's grounding in the history of Spain, Modern Language Review contributor John Lyon maintained that Anillos para una dama "is firmly anchored in . . . a clearly-defined human conflict between an individual criterion of love and happiness and the obligations imposed by an alliance of collective tradition, religious morality, and political expediency."
Gala's first full-length novel, El manuscrito carmesí, is a work of historical fiction that focuses on the recapture of Spain from the Ottoman Turks in the late fifteenth century by presenting the fictional journal of Boabdil, the last sultan of Granada. "While the first-person account does not ignore factionalism among the Moorish leaders or Arab acts of violence and deceit," commented Zatlin, "the perspective of the Andalusian king tends both to demythify the image of the Catholic victors and to create a greater appreciation for Moorish culture." Gala's subsequent novels, such as La pasión turca and Más allá del jardín, explore other social issues within a fictional guise and feature what Hispania reviewer David K. Herzberger described as "off-beat characters who must overcome compelling social difficulties," such as homosexuality, racism, and political repression.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary World Writers, 2nd edition, St. James Press (Chicago, IL), 1993.
Halsey, Martha T., and Phyllis Zatlin, editors, Contemporary Spanish Theater: A Collection of Critical Essays, University Press of America (Lanham, MD), 1988.
Hispanic Literature and Politics, Indiana University of Pennsylvania (Indiana, PA), 1976.
Paolini, Claire J., editor, La Chispa '95: Selected Proceedings, Tulane University (New Orleans, LA), 1995.
Quintero, Jesús, Trece noches (interview with Gala), Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1999.
Estreño, Volume 2, number 2, 1976, Farris Anderson, "From Protest to Resignation"; Volume 11, 1985; Volume 18, number 2, 1992, Robert Louis Sheehan, "Antonio Gala's Cristóbal Colón."
Hispania, summer, 1987, Wilma Newberry, "Antonio Gala's El cemeterio de los párajos and the Problem of Freedom," p. 431; December, 1994, David K. Herzberger, review of La pasión turca, p. 836.
Hispanic Review, summer, 1991, Patricia W. O'Connor, review of Los buenos días perdidos and Anillos para una dama, pp. 357-358.
Kentucky Romance Quarterly, Volume 24, 1977, Phyllis Zatlin, "The Theater of Antonio Gala: In Search of Paradise," pp. 175-183.
Modern Language Review, July, 1990, John Lyon, review of Los buenos días perdidos and Anillos para una dama, p. 772.
Romance Studies, autumn, 1995, Isabel Torres, "The Cid in the Shade in Gala's Anillos para una dama," pp. 77-97.
World Literature Today, winter, 1990, Catherine G. Bellver, review of Dedicado a Tobías, p. 82; summer, 1992, David Ross Gerling, review of La soledad sonora, p. 488.
Verdemente,http://www.verdemente.com/ (April 22, 2002), Pepa C. Belmonte, "Entrevista a Antonio Gala."*